History of Greene County, Missouri
1883

R. I. Holcombe, Editing Historian


 Laws of Missouri


HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION LAW.

The homestead exemption law of the State of Missouri has been one of the most enlightened laws passed for the benefit of the people. In the last session of the general assembly of the State, the spring of 1880-81, there was a material change in the law, and it is given here in full. Thus every head of a family can be secure in a home of moderate value, if he will not waive his right to it. There are printed notes now drawn up in which there is a clause printed waiving the right of holding such property under that law. When a man signs such a note, his home stands in the same light as his other property. These notes should never be signed unless by or with the consent of the wife as well as the husband. The law reads, as amended, as follows, and is in full force at this time:

SECTION 1. Section twenty-six hundred and eighty-nine (2689) of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, is hereby amended by striking out, "or incorporated towns and villages having a less population," and inserting in lieu thereof, "having a population of ten thousand or less," in twelfth line, and by inserting immediately after "dollars," fifteenth line, the words "and in cities and incorporated towns and villages having a population less than ten thousand, such homesteads shall not include more than five acres of ground or exceed the total value of $1,500," so that said section as amended shall read as follows: [107]

SEC. 2689. The homestead of every housekeeper or head of a family, consisting of a dwelling-house and appurtenances, and the land in connection therewith, not exceeding the amount and value herein limited, which is or shall be used by such housekeeper, or head of a family as such homestead shall, together with the rents, issues and products thereof, be exempt from attachment and execution, except as herein provided; such homestead in the country shall not include more than one hundred and sixty acres of land, or exceed the total value of fifteen hundred dollars; and in cities having a population of forty thousand or more, such homestead shall not include more than eighteen square rods of ground, or exceed the total value of three thousand dollars, and in cities having a population of ten thousand and less than forty thousand, such homestead shall not include more than thirty square rods of ground, or exceed the total value of fifteen hundred dollars; and in cities and incorporated towns and villages having a population less than ten thousand, such homestead shall not include more than five acres of ground, or exceed the total value of fifteen hundred dollars; and any married woman may file her claim to the tractor lot of land occupied by her and her husband, or by her, if abandoned by her husband, as a homestead; said claim shall set forth the tract or lot claimed, that she is the wife of the person in whose name the said tract or lot appears of record, and said claim shall be acknowledged by her before some officer authorized to take proof or acknowledgements of instruments of writing, affecting real estate, and be filed in the recorder's office, and it shall be the duty of the recorder to receive and record the same. After the filing of such claims, duly acknowledged, the husband shall be debarred from, and incapable of selling, mortgaging or alienating the homestead in any manner whatever, and every such sale, mortgage or alienation is hereby declared null and void; and the filing of any such claims, as aforesaid, with the recorder, shall impart notice to all persons of the contents thereof, and all subsequent purchasers and mortgagers shall be deemed, in law and equity, to purchase with notice; Provided, however, that nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to prevent the husband and wife from jointly conveying, mortgaging, alienating or in any other manner disposing of such homestead, or any part thereof.
Approved, March 26, 1881.

HUSBAND NOT LIABLE.

An Act to exempt the husband from the payment of the debts of the wife, contracted before marriage.

SECTION 1. The property owned by a man before his marriage, and that which he may acquire after his marriage by purchase, descent, gift, grant, devise, or any other manner whatsoever, and the profits thereof, except such as may be acquired from the wife, shall be exempt from all debts and liabilities contracted or incurred by his wife before their marriage.

SEC. 2. All acts and parts of acts inconsistent with this act are hereby repealed.
Approved, March 25, 1881. [108]

RIGHTS OF MARRIED WOMEN.

The law passed by the General Assembly on the rights and privileges of married women is full and complete, is composed of fourteen sections, and too long to be embodied in this work. The law can be found in the "Revised Statutes of Missouri, volume 1, 1876." It is chapter 51, and found on pages 557 to 561.

HEDGES TRIMMED.

It may not be known to all that a law was passed by the General Assembly (1880-1881), that "every person having a hedge fence, over five years old, upon the line of any public road or highway in this State, is hereby required to cut down the same, to the height of not more than five feet nor less than four feet, every two years: Provided, that hedge fences inclosing orchards, house-yards and stockyards, shall be exempt from the provisions of this act."

The overseer of roads is to serve the notice and the owner has thirty days to commence, and if he fail to do it the overseer shall have it done, and the owner must pay all expenses of the same. It can be collected of him by law, same as revenue for road purposes.

The law passed and took effect March 16, 1881.

CHANGING SCHOOL-HOUSE SITES.

SECTION 1. The voters of any school-district in this State may change the location of a school-house site when the same, for any cause, may be deemed necessary and notice of such contemplated change shall have been given by the directors at least twenty days prior thereto by posting at least three written notices in three of the most public places in the district where such schoolhouse site shall be located; Provided, that in every case a majority of the voters of said district shall only be necessary to remove a site nearer the center of a school district, but in all cases to remove a site further from the center of a school district it shall require two-thirds of the legal voters of such school district. [109]

SEC. 2. All acts and parts of acts in conflict with this act are hereby repealed.
Approved March 24, 1881.

MARRIAGE LICENSE.

The legislature of 1880-81 passed a marriage license act which makes it necessary for persons before marriage to secure a license. No person authorized to perform the marriage ceremony can legally do so without first seeing the license, and a marriage performed without a license is not legal and a penalty is attached. The intent of the law is to have an official record which shall stand in the courts and settle any dispute either of marriage or property which may hereafter arise. The law reads:

SECTION 1. Previous to any marriage in this State a license for that purpose shall be obtained.

The recorder of the county issues the license and the parties must be, the male 21 years and the female 18 years of age. If younger, the parents or guardian must give consent.

PURCHASING BOOKS BY SUBSCRIPTION.

The business of publishing books by subscription, having so often been brought into disrepute by agents making representations and declarations not authorized by the publisher, in order to prevent that as much as possible, and that there may be more general knowledge of the relation such agents bear to their principal, and the law governing such cases, the following statement is made:

A subscription is in the nature a contract of mutual promises, by which the subscriber agrees to pay a certain sum for the work described; the consideration is that the publisher shall publish the book named, and deliver the same, for which the subscriber is to pay the price named. The nature and character of the work are described by the prospectus and sample shown. These should be carefully examined before subscribing, as they are the basis and consideration of the promise to pay, and not the too often exaggerated statements of the agent, who is merely employed to solicit subscriptions, for which he is usually paid a commission for each subscriber, and has no authority to change or alter the conditions upon which the subscriptions are authorized to be made by the publisher. Should the agent assume to agree to make the subscription conditional, or modify or change the agreement of the publisher, as set out by the prospectus and sample, in order to bind the principal, the subscriber should see that such condition or changes are stated over or in connection with his signature, so that the publisher may have notice of the same. [110]

All persons making contracts in reference to matters of this kind, or any other business, should remember that the law as written is, that they can not be altered, varied, or rescinded verbally, but if done at all, must be done in writing. It is therefore important that all persons contemplating subscribing should distinctly understand that all talk before or after the subscription is made is not admissible as evidence, and is no part of the contract.

Persons employed to solicit subscriptions are known to the trade as canvassers. They are agents appointed to do a particular business in a prescribed mode and have no authority to do it any other way to the prejudice of their principal, nor can they bind their principal in any other manner. They can not collect money, or agree that payment be made in anything else but money. They can not extend the time of payment beyond the time of delivery nor bind their principal for the payment of expenses incurred in their business.

It would save a great deal of trouble, and often serious loss, if persons, before signing their names to any subscription book, or any written instrument, would examine carefully what it is; and if they cannot read themselves call on some one disinterested who can.

FORMS OF DEEDS, LEASES, MORTGAGES, ETC.
General Form of Will For Real and Personal Property.

I, James Johnson, of the town of Muncie, county of Delaware, and State of Indiana, being aware of the uncertainty of life, and in failing health, but of sound mind and memory, do make and declare this to be my last will and testament, in manner as follows, to-wit:

First—I give, devise and bequeath to my son, James Horace Johnson, $1,000 in bank stock, of the First National Bank of Boston,, and the farm owned by myself, in the township of Washington, Shelby county, Missouri, and consisting of eighty acres of land with all the houses, tenements and improvements thereunto belonging, to have and to hold unto my said son, his heirs and assigns forever. [111]

Second—I give, devise and bequeath to each of my two daughters, Ida Louisa Johnson and Annie May Johnson, each $1,000 in cash, and each one a quarter section of land owned by myself in the township of Jasper, Henry county, Illinois, and recorded in my name in the record of said county, where said land is located; the north 160 acres to go to Ida Louisa, my eldest daughter.

Third—I give, devise and bequeath to my son, Thomas Alfred Johnson, ten shares of railroad stock in the Mississippi & Ohio Railroad, and my lot, with the residence thereon, in Dayton, Ohio, with all the improvements and appurtenances thereunto belonging, which said real estate is recorded in my name in the county where situated.

Fourth—I give to my wife Samuella Richardson Johnson, all my household furniture, goods, chattels and personal property about my home not hitherto disposed of, including $5,000 of bank stock, in the Merchants' National Bank of Toledo, Ohio, fifteen shares in the Mississippi & Ohio Railroad, and the free and unrestricted use, possession and benefit of the home farm so long as she may live, in lieu of dower to which she is entitled by law, said farm being my present place of residence.

Fifth—It is also my will and desire that at the death of my wife, Samuella Richardson Johnson, or at any time when she may arrange to relinquish her life interest in the above-mentioned homestead, the same may revert to my above-named children, or to the lawful heirs of each.

And Lastly—I nominate and appoint as executors of this, my last will and testament, my wife, Samuella Richardson Johnson, and my eldest son, James Horace Johnson.

I further direct that my debts and necessary funeral expenses shall be paid from moneys now on deposit in the Savings Bank of Dayton, Ohio, the residue of such money to revert to my wife, Samuella Richardson Johnson, for her use forever.

In witness whereof, I, James Johnson, to this, my last will and testament, have hereunto set my hand and seal, this fourth day of December, 1876. James Johnson.

Signed and declared by James Johnson as and for his last will and testament, in the presence of us, who, at his request and in his presence and in the presence of each other, have subscribed our names hereunto as witnesses thereof. [112]
Thomas Dugan, Dayton, Ohio.
Rochester McQuade, Cincinnati, Ohio.

CODICIL.

James Johnson, did, on the fourth day of December, 1876, make my last will and testament, I do now, by this writing, add this codicil to my said will, to be taken as a part thereof.

WHEREAS, By the dispensation of Providence, my daughter Ida Louisa has deceased, October 10th , 1877; and

WHEREAS, A son has been born to me, which son is now christened John Wesley Johnson, I give and bequeath to him my gold watch, and all right, interest and title in lands, bank stock and chattels bequeathed to my deceased daughter, Ida Louisa, in the body of this will.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 10th day of January, 1878. James Johnson.

Signed, seated, published and declared to us by the testator, James Johnson, as and for a codicil to be annexed to his last will and testament, and we, at his request and in his presence, and in the presence of each other, have subscribed our names as witnesses thereto, at the date hereof.
Thos. Dugan, Dayton, Ohio.
Charles Jackson, Cincinnati, Ohio.

FORM OF LEASE.

This ARTICLE OF AGREEMENT, made and entered into on this ____day of _____ A. D. 188__, by and between _____________, of the county of _______ and State of Missouri, of the first part, and _______, of the county of _______, and State of Missouri, of the second part, witnesseth that the said party of the first party has this day leased unto the party of the second part the following described premises, to-wit:

[Here insert description.]

for the term of _______ from and after the ______ day of _______ A. D. 188__, at the rent of ______ dollars, to be paid as follows, to-wit:

[Here insert terms.]

And it is further agreed that if any rent shall be due or unpaid, or if default be made in any of the covenants herein contained, it shall then be lawful for the said party of the first part to re-enter the said premises, or to distrain for such rent; or he may recover possession thereof by action of forcible entry and detainer, or he may use all or any of the remedies to effect such possession. [113]

And the party of the second part agrees to pay to the party of the first part the rent as above stated, except when said premises are untenantable by reason of fire, or from any other cause than the carelessness of the party of the second part, or persons—family, or in—employ, or by superior force or inevitable necessity. And the said party of the second part covenants and agrees that—will use the said premises as a —, and for no other purpose whatsoever; and that—especially will not use said premises, or permit the same to be used, for any unlawful business or purposes whatsoever; that—will not sell, assign, underlet, or relinquish said premises without the written consent of the lessor, under a penalty of a forfeiture of all rights under this lease, at the election of the party of the first part; and that—use all due care and diligence in guarding said property, with the building, gates, fences, trees, vines, shrubbery, etc., from damages by fire and the depredation by animals; that—will keep buildings, gates, fences, etc., in as good repair as they now are, or may at any time be placed by the lessor, damages by superior force, inevitable necessity, or fire from any other cause than from the carelessness of the lessor, or persons of—family, or in—employ, excepted; and that upon the expiration of this lease, or upon a breach by said lessee of any of the said covenants herein contained, will, without further notice of any kind, quit and surrender the occupancy and possession of said premises in as good condition as, reasonable use, natural wear and decay thereof will permit, damages by fire as aforesaid, superior force, or inevitable necessity, alone excepted.

In witness whereof, the said parties have subscribed their names on the date first-above written.

SIGNED IN PRESENCE of ————— ————— ————— —————

REAL ESTATE MORTGAGE.

KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS: That —— of ——— county, and State of ——— in consideration of ———— dollars, in hand paid by ——, of ——— county, and State of ——, do hereby sell and convey unto the said ———— the following described premises, situated in the county of ——— and State of —— to-wit: [114]

[Here insert description.]

and do hereby covenant with the said —— that —— lawfully seized of said premises, that they are free from encumbrance, that —— have good, right and lawful authority to sell and convey the same; and —— do hereby covenant to warrant and defend the same against the lawful claims of all persons whomsoever. To be void upon the condition that the said —— shall pay the full amount of principal and interest at the time therein specified, of —— certain promissory notes, for the sum of —— dollars,

One note for $ —— due —— 18—, with interest annually at—per cent. One note for $—— due —— 18—, with interest annually at— per cent. One note for $ —— due ——, 18—, with interest annually at — per cent.

And the said mortgagor agrees to pay all taxes that may be levied upon the above described premises. It is also agreed by the mortgagor that if it becomes necessary to foreclose this mortgage, a reasonable amount shall be allowed as an attorney's fee for foreclosing. And the —— hereby relinquishes all her right of dower and homestead in and to the above described premises. Signed the —Day of ——, A, D. 18—.

CHATTEL MORTGAGE.

KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS: That ——, of —— county, and State of ——, in consideration of —— dollars, in hand paid by ——, of —— county, and State of ——, do hereby sell and convey unto the said —— the following described personal property, now in the possession of ——, in the county of —— State of ——, to-wit:

[Here insert description.]

and do hereby warrant, the title of said property, and that it is free from any encumbrance or lien. The only right or interest retained by grantor in said property being the right of redemption herein provided. This conveyance to be void upon condition that the said grantor shall pay to said grantee, or his assigns, the full amount of principal and interest at the time therein specified, of —— certain promissory notes of even date herewith, for the sum of —— dollars,

One note for $ —— due ——, 18—, with interest annually at — per cent. One note for $ —— due ——, 18—, with interest annually at — per cent. One note for $ —— due —— , 18—, with interest annually at — per cent.

The grantor to pay all taxes on said property, and if at any time any part or portion of said notes should be due and unpaid, said grantor may proceed by sale or foreclosure to collect and pay himself the unpaid balance of said notes, whether due or not, the grantor to pay all necessary expenses of such foreclosure, including $ —— attorney's fees, and whatever remains, after paying off said notes and expenses, to be paid over to said grantor.

Signed the — day of ——, 18—.
—— —— —— —— —— [115]

QUITCLAIM DEED.

KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS: That ——, of —— county, State of ——, in consideration of —— dollars in hand paid by ——, of —— county, and State of ——, the receipt whereof —— do hereby acknowledge, have bargained, sold and quit-claimed, and by these presents do bargain, sell and quitclaim unto the said ——, and to —— heirs and assigns forever, all ——right, title and interest, estate , claim and demand, both in law and in equity, and as well in possession as in expectancy, of, in and to the following described premises, to-wit:

[Here insert description.]

With all and singular and hereditaments and appurtenances thereto belonging.

Signed this — day of ——, A.D. 18—.
Signed in presence of —— —— —— —— —— ——

WARRANTY DEED.

KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS: That ——, of —— county, and State of ——, in consideration of the sum of ——Dollars in hand paid by ——, of —— county, and State of ——, do hereby sell and convey unto the said ——, and to —— heirs and assigns, the following described premises, situated in the county of ——, State of Missouri, to-wit: [116]

[Here insert description.]

And —— do hereby covenant with the said —— that ——a ——lawfully seized in fee simple of said premises, that they are free from incumbrance; that —— ha— good right and lawful authority to sell the same, and —— do hereby covenant to warrant and defend said premises, and appurtenances thereto belonging, against the lawful claims of all persons whomsoever; and the said —— hereby relinquishes all her right of dower and of homestead in and to the above described premises.

Signed the —— day of ——, A. D. 18—.

Signed in Presence of ——— ——— ——— ——— ———

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT.

All forms of deeds, mortgages, or bond for deed, shall have the following form of acknowledgment:

STATE OF MISSOURI, SS.

COUNTY OF ———

Be it remembered, that on this — day of ———, 18—, before me the undersigned, a —— in and for said county, personally appeared ——, to me personally known to be the identical person who executed the above (deed, mortgage, etc.), as —— and acknowledged —— signature thereto to be —— voluntary act and deed.

Witness my hand and —— seal, the day and year last above written.

NOTES.

Form of note is legal, worded in the simplest way, so that the amount and time of payment are mentioned:

$100.
New York, Sept. 1, 1881.
Sixty days after date I promise to pay to John Doe, or order, one hundred dollars, for value received, with interest.
Richard Roe.

A note to be payable in anything else but money, needs only the article substituted in the above form. "With interest," meaning at the legal rate, and any other rate must be mentioned, or if no interest is to be paid until after the maturity of the note it should be so stated.

ORDERS.

Orders should be simply worded:
Mr. D. H. Waters. St. Louis, Mo., January 2, 1881. Please pay J. Walker twenty-five dollars and charge to account of ——
J. Turner. [117]

if it is to be paid in trade it should be so expressed after the word dollars.

RECEIPTS.

Receipts should state when received and for what; thus:

$100.
St. Louis, January 1, 1878. Received of J. W. Hardin one hundred dollars, for services in the harvest field, to date, in full.

Or,
Received of J. W. Hardin fifty dollars, for one week's work of self and team, in hauling stone, in full. R. W. Fields.

If only part is paid it should read, "on account," instead of "in full."

BILL OF PURCHASE.

It should state each article and price, as follows:

St. Louis, Mo., January 1, 1878.
J. W. Shattuck,
Bought of J. D. Adams.

To 5 Yards Jeans, at .50

$2.50

To 20 Yards Brown Domestic at .08

1.60

Received payment,

$4.10

J. D. Adams.

VALUABLE RULES.

How to find the gross and net weight of a hog, is by the rule that a hog's not weight is one-fifth less than his gross weight. For instance a hog weighing 400 pounds gross, would, when dressed, weigh 320.

A good rule to find the capacity of a granary or a wagon-bed is multiply by (short method) the number of cubic feet by 6308, and point off one decimal place the result will be the correct answer in bushels and tenths of bushels.

To find the contents of a corn-crib multiply the number of cubic feet by 54 (short method) or by 41 ordinary method, and point off one decimal—the result will be the answer in bushels. This rule applies when it is first cribbed and before the corn shrinks.

For the contents of a cistern or tank, multiply the square of the mean diameter by the depth (all in feet) and this product by 5681 (short method) and point off one decimal place—the result will be the contents in barrels of 31½ gallons each. [118]

To measure boards multiply the length (in feet) by the width (in inches), divide the product by 12—the result will be the contents in square feet.

Note: This is the correct measurement for every inch of thickness.

The same in substance is the rule for scantling joists, planks, sills, etc. Multiply the width, thickness and length together (the width and thickness in inches and the length in feet) and divide the product by 12—the result will be square feet.

To find the number of brick required in a building, multiply the number of cubic feet by 221. The number of cubic feet is found by multiplying the length, height and thickness (in feet) together.

A congressional township is thirty-six sections, each a square mile. A section of land is 640 acres.

A quarter section, 160 acres, is a half a mile square.

Eighty acres is half a mile long and one-quarter of a mile wide. Forty acres is a quarter of a mile square.

The sections of a congressional township are all numbered from one to thirty-six, commencing at the northeast corner of the township.

One hundred and ninety-six pounds is one barrel of flour.

Two hundred pounds is one barrel of pork.

Fifty-six pounds is called a firkin of butter.

A cord of wood is four feet wide, four feet high, and eight feet long.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES.

The lawful weight of the following articles is the following number of pounds per bushel, and so understood when no special contract is made:

Apples, peaches and quinces

48

Dried peaches

38

Cherries, grapes, currants or gooseberries

40

Rye

56

Salt

50

Strawberries, raspberries or blackberries

32

Sand

130

Osage-orange seed

32

Lime

80

Beans

60

Millet seed

45

Bran

20

Clover seed

60

Oats

33

Flax seed

56

Wheat

60

Sorghum seed

80

Barley

48

Timothy seed

45

Buckwheat

52

Hemp seed

44

Corn-meal

48

Broom-corn seed

80

Stone coal

30

Blue-grass seed

14

Corn, in the ear

70

Hungarian grass seed

45

Potatoes

60

Sweet potatoes

46

Onions

37

Castor beans

46

Shelled corn

56

Dried apples

24

 

 

There is a fine and penalty attached for giving false weights. [119]

MISSOURI GAME LAW.

There have been so many violations of the game law that its publication is one of interest. Many persons violate this law through ignorance, and others wilfully. The penalty is here given for all such acts. Every good citizen and lover of hunting is interested in preventing the law from being trampled upon, and those wilfully breaking it should be forced to pay the penalty. A synopsis of the law is as follows:
It is unlawful to—

Catch or have in possession any deer between January 15th and September 1st.

Prairie chickens between February 1st and August 15th.

Quail or pheasant between February 1st and October 15th .

Woodcock between January 10th and July 1st .

Turtle doves, meadow larks and plover between February 1st and August 1st.

Wild song birds or insectiverous birds cannot be killed at any time.

It is unlawful to have in possession or purchase or sell any of the game or animals named above when the killing is prohibited.

It is unlawful to have in possession or to sell any of the game birds named that do not show shot marks, it being prima facie evidence that they have been trapped or netted contrary to law.

It is unlawful for any railroad, express company, or other carrier, to receive for transportation any of the birds or game mentioned, when the killing of the same is prohibited.

Every person who shall violate any of the above named laws shall be guilty of misdemeanor and punished by a fine not exceeding $20 for each bird or animal killed, netted, trapped or found in his possession.

Any violators of these laws can be prosecuted before any police justice, recorder, or justice of the peace, or other court having jurisdiction to try cases of misdemeanor.

One-half of any fines collected will he paid to the informer and the balance to the school fund of the county. It is the duty of all constables, marshals, market-masters and police officers, to arrest all persons violating any of the game laws, and take them before the courts having jurisdiction to hear and try complaints.

California quail cannot be killed before October, 1883.

Messina quail cannot be killed before January 1st, 1886.

Hawks, owls, eagles and crows can be killed at any time, and the destruction of these birds and their nests is recommended. [120]


Next Chapter | Table of Contents | Keyword Search

History of Greene County Home | Local History Home